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Re: [steiner] The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity Ch. 10

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    In my New Year s enthusiasm I posted a running commentary on Ch. 9, which I now see I kept calling Ch. 8. ;- Anyone care to do Ch.10? Starman
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 2, 2002
      In my New Year's enthusiasm I posted a running commentary on Ch. 9, which I
      now see I kept calling Ch. 8. ;->
      Anyone care to do Ch.10?

      Starman
    • Carol
      Steiner said: for the monist the moral world order is neither a copy of a purely mechanical natural order, nor of an extra-human world order, but entirely a
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 2, 2002
        Steiner said:

        "for the monist the moral world order is neither a copy of a
        purely mechanical natural order, nor of an extra-human world
        order, but entirely a free undertaking of man"


        to see what this ideas looks like artistically, look at the
        Steiner's sculpture "The Representative of Humanity"



        what does he mean in the second to last paragraph when he
        says, "Monism can no more eliminate {naive moral maxims} from
        the world than it can eliminate percepts"??????


        It seems like Steiner uses this chapter to make as clear as
        humanly possible that we must not leave the realm of human
        experience and thought if we are to comprehend free moral
        action.

        I'm tired, so I don't think I can formulate a very specific
        question, but I would really like to read somebodies
        understanding of the first section of the author's
        additions...It seems pretty important.

        As for the second part- I'm a big fan of this articulation
        because I so often read thinkers who would reject the label
        of materialist, yet who can only think in thoughts which are
        tied to sense observations and analytic thought processes...

        Carol



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      • DRStarman2001@aol.com
        Dr. Steiner in Ch. 10 writes:
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
          Dr. Steiner in Ch. 10 writes:

          << The naive man who regards as real only what he can see with his eyes and
          grasp with his hands, also needs to have motives for his moral life that are
          perceptible to the senses. He needs someone who will impart these motives to
          him in a way that he can understand by means of his senses. He will let them
          be dictated to him as commands by a person whom he considers wiser and more
          powerful than himself, or whom he acknowledges, for some other reason, to be
          a power standing above him. In this way the moral principles already
          mentioned come about through being prescribed by authority of family, state,
          society, church, or the Divinity. An undeveloped person still trusts in the
          authority of a single individual; a somewhat more advanced person lets his
          moral conduct be dictated by a majority (state, society). But it is always
          perceptible powers upon which he relies. When at last the conviction dawns
          upon him that fundamentally all these are weak human beings just like
          himself, then he will seek guidance from a higher power, from a divine Being,
          whom, however, he endows with sense-perceptible qualities. He lets the
          conceptual content of his moral life be dictated to him by this Being, again
          in a perceptible way, for example when God appears in the burning bush, or
          moves among men in bodily human form and in a manner perceptible to their
          ears tells them what to do and what not to do.
          The highest level of development of naive realism in the moral sphere is
          reached when the moral command (moral idea) has been separated from every
          foreign entity, and is hypothetically thought of as an absolute force in
          one's own inner being. What at first is sensed as the external voice of God,
          is now sensed as an independent power within man, and is spoken of in a way
          that shows the inner power to be identified with the voice of conscience.
          When this happens, the level of naive consciousness has been abandoned and we
          enter the region where moral laws become independent rules. They no longer
          have a bearer, but have become metaphysical entities, existing by themselves.
          They are similar to the invisible-visible forces of the metaphysical realist
          who does not look for the reality of things in the human soul's participation
          in this reality through thinking, but who hypothetically imagines reality as
          an addition to actual experience. Extra-human moral rules, therefore, always
          accompany metaphysical realism. Metaphysical realism cannot do otherwise than
          seek the origin of morality too in a sphere beyond human reach. And here
          there are several possibilities. If the presupposed Being is thought of as in
          itself unthinking, acting according to purely mechanical laws, as materialism
          thinks of it, then out of itself it must also produce, by purely mechanical
          necessity, the human individual and all that belongs to him. The
          consciousness of freedom can then be only an illusion. For while I believe
          myself to be the creator of my deeds, it is the material substances of which
          I am composed, together with their processes, that are at work within me. I
          believe myself to be free, whereas in reality all my actions are but results
          of the material processes which are the foundation of my bodily and spiritual
          organism. According to this point of view, it is simply because we do not
          know the motives compelling us, that we have the feeling of freedom. "We must
          emphasize that the feeling of freedom is due to the absence of external
          compelling motives." "Our actions as well as our thinking are subject to
          necessity."
          Another possibility is that the extra-human absolute is seen as a spiritual
          Being behind the world of phenomena. Then the impulse to action will also be
          sought in such a spiritual power. The moral principles to be found in man's
          reason will be regarded as issuing from this Being-in-itself, which has its
          own particular intentions with regard to man. Moral laws appear to such a
          dualist as dictated by the Absolute, and through his reason, man simply has
          to discover and carry out these decisions of the Absolute Being. The moral
          world-order appears to the dualist as the perceptible reflection of a higher
          order that stands behind it. Earthly morality is the manifestation of the
          extra-human world order. It is not man that matters in this moral order, but
          the Being-in-itself, the extra-human Being. Man ought to do what this Being
          wills. Eduard von Hartmann, who sees the Being-in-itself as the Godhead whose
          very existence is suffering, believes that this divine Being has created the
          world in order that through the world he will be redeemed from his infinitely
          great pain. This philosopher therefore regards the moral development of
          mankind as a process which exists for the purpose of redeeming the Godhead.
          "Only through the building up of a moral world-order by sensible, responsible
          individuals can the aim of the world process be carried through...."
          "Existence in its reality is the incarnation of the Godhead-the world process
          is the Passion of the God becoming flesh, and at the same time the path of
          redemption of Him who was crucified in the flesh; and morality is the co-opera
          tion in the shortening of this path of suffering and redemption."
          Here man does not act because he wills, but he ought to act because it is
          God's will to be redeemed. Just as the materialistic dualist makes man into
          an automaton whose conduct is merely the result of purely mechanical laws, so
          the spiritualistic dualist (that is, he who sees the Absolute, the
          Being-in-itself, as a spiritual entity in which man has no conscious share)
          makes him into a slave of the will of the Absolute. Freedom is out of the
          question in materialism as well as in one-sided spiritualism, in fact in any
          kind of metaphysical realism which does not experience, but infers something
          extra-human as the true reality.
          Naive as well as metaphysical realism, in order to be consistent, must deny
          freedom for one and the same reason, since they regard man as being simply
          the agent or executor of principles which are forced upon him by necessity.
          Naive realism kills freedom through subjection to the authority either of a
          perceptible being or of an entity thought of as similar to a perceptible
          being, or else through submission to the authority of the abstract inner
          voice which is interpreted as "conscience;" the metaphysical realist, who
          merely infers something extra-human, cannot acknowledge freedom because he
          lets man be determined, mechanically or morally, by a "Being-in-itself."
          Monism must acknowledge the partial justification of naive realism because it
          acknowledges the justification of the world of perceptions. Someone who is
          incapable of bringing forth moral ideas through intuition, will have to
          receive them from others. Insofar as a man receives his moral principles from
          outside, he is positively unfree. But monism ascribes equal significance to
          the idea compared with perception. And the idea can come to manifestation in
          the human individual. Insofar as man follows the impulses coming from this
          side, he feels free. But monism denies all justification to a metaphysics
          which merely draws inferences, and consequently also to impulses of action
          stemming from a so-called "Being-in-itself." According to the monistic view,
          man's action is unfree when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion; it
          is free when he obeys himself. Monism cannot acknowledge any kind of
          unconscious compulsion hidden behind perception and concept. When someone
          maintains that a fellow man was not free when he performed an action, it must
          be possible to prove the existence within the perceptible world of the thing,
          the person, or the institution that made the man act; but if an appeal is
          made to causes for the action lying outside the sphere of physical and
          spiritual reality, then monism cannot enter the discussion.
          According to monism, in his activity man is partly unfree, partly free. He is
          unfree in the world of perceptions, but brings the free spirit to realization
          in himself. >>

          *******So it's just as Steiner says in Christianity As Mystical Fact:
          religions were given out to those undeveloped enough to have direct moral
          intuition. The exoteric form of religions, the external moral codes, are for
          people as they develop up to the point of seeing where the moral ideas
          originate for themselves: then they no longer follow either the outer
          compulsion of a code nor the inner compulsion of a "voice of conscience", but
          seek through thinking to penetrate to the source of both. We lived under the
          Law of Moses once; but then Mankind graduated to freedom. Christ freed us
          from the Law. But all too often it's as Pete Townshend wrote in the song "I'm
          Free" from Tommy: "No one had the guts to leave the temple."

          Starman
        • Carol
          I ll chime in here on today s chapter in a few hours...sorry... carol __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send your FREE holiday
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
            I'll chime in here on today's chapter in a few
            hours...sorry...

            carol

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          • DRStarman2001@aol.com
            In a message dated 1/3/2002 9:42:23 PM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes: Nothing to be
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
              In a message dated 1/3/2002 9:42:23 PM, softabyss@... writes:

              << I'll chime in here on today's chapter in a few
              hours...sorry...

              carol >>

              Nothing to be sorry about---you've been doing plenty!

              Aren't there any others here who would like to take a shot at one?
            • Carol
              Dr. Starman, I hope you are still online because I ve got an earlybird question: In the first paragraph of Chap 11 what does Steiner mean when he says, One
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
                Dr. Starman, I hope you are still online because I've got an
                earlybird question:

                In the first paragraph of Chap 11 what does Steiner mean when
                he says, "One performs an action of which one has previously
                made a mental picture, and one allows this mental picture to
                determine one's action. Thusthe later (the deed) influences
                the earlier (the doer) with the help of the mental picture."

                If I form a mental picture of running around the room and
                then do it, is he saying that my running around the room
                generated the metal picture which I used as my motive? Don't
                think so, but hard to read it another way...

                Carol

                --- DRStarman2001@... wrote:
                >
                > In a message dated 1/3/2002 9:42:23 PM, softabyss@...
                > writes:
                >
                > << I'll chime in here on today's chapter in a few
                > hours...sorry...
                >
                > carol >>
                >
                > Nothing to be sorry about---you've been doing plenty!
                >
                > Aren't there any others here who would like to take a shot
                > at one?
                >


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              • Carol
                Oh wait....am I a chapter ahead??????? __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
                  Oh wait....am I a chapter ahead???????

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                • DRStarman2001@aol.com
                  In a message dated 1/3/2002 1:44:56 AM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes:
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
                    In a message dated 1/3/2002 1:44:56 AM, softabyss@... writes:

                    << I would really like to read somebodies
                    understanding of the first section of the author's
                    additions...It seems pretty important.

                    *******What Carol's referring to is this:
                    <<First Addition to the Revised Edition, 1918. Difficulty in judging what is
                    presented in the two preceding chapters may arise because one believes
                    oneself to be confronted by a contradiction. On the one hand, the experience
                    of thinking is spoken of as having a general significance of equal value for
                    every human consciousness; on the other hand, it is shown that though the
                    ideas realized in moral life are of the same kind as those worked out by
                    thinking, they come to expression in each human consciousness in an
                    individual way. If one cannot overcome seeing a "contradiction," in this, and
                    cannot recognize that it is just in a living experience of this actually
                    present contrast that a glimpse into man's true being is revealed, then it is
                    also impossible to see either the idea of knowledge or the idea of freedom in
                    their true light. For those who think of concepts as merely drawn
                    (abstracted) from the sense-world, and who do not give full recognition to
                    intuitions, the thought presented here as the reality must seem a "mere
                    contradiction." For an insight that recognizes how ideas are intuitively
                    experienced as a self-sustaining reality, it is clear that in the sphere of
                    the world of ideas man penetrates in cognition into something which is
                    universal for all men, but when he derives from that same idea world the
                    intuitions for his acts of will, then he individualizes a member of this idea
                    world by means of the same activity which, as a general human one, he unfolds
                    in the spiritual ideal process of cognition. For this reason what appears as
                    a logical contradiction, namely the universal character of cognitive ideas
                    and the individual character of moral ideas, when experienced in its true
                    reality, becomes a living concept. A characteristic feature of human nature
                    consists in the fact that what can be intuitively grasped oscillates in man
                    like a living pendulum between knowledge which is universally valid, and the
                    individual experience of this universal element. For the man who cannot
                    recognize one swing of the pendulum in its reality, thinking will remain
                    merely a subjective human activity; for the one who cannot recognize the
                    other swing, all individual life appears to cease in man's activity of
                    thinking. To the first person, cognition is unintelligible, to the second,
                    moral life is unintelligible. Both will call in all sorts of representations
                    in order to explain the one or the other, all of which miss the point,
                    because both persons, fundamentally, either do not recognize that thinking
                    can be experienced, or take it to be an activity which merely abstracts. >>>


                    ********Because many do not recognize that thinking is universal---i.e., the
                    concept "triangle" thought by you is the same as every other thinker---they
                    think all thought is mere opinion, individual. Scientists who do recognize
                    the universality of ideas often regard all moral ideas the same way, as mere
                    opinion. Steiner is saying we grasp the universal reality in thinking, but
                    when we make it into a moral intuition of what to do we make it individual.
                    Gandhi, for instance, tuned in to the same ancient truth of 'ahimsa' or
                    non-violence as the Rishis---but then made it into a motive for action
                    against the lovely British in his time and place.

                    >>>As for the second part- I'm a big fan of this articulation
                    because I so often read thinkers who would reject the label
                    of materialist, yet who can only think in thoughts which are
                    tied to sense observations and analytic thought processes...
                    Carol >>

                    *******Yes, and what Steiner is saying there....

                    <<<One who says: "Our conduct, like our thinking, is necessitated," expresses
                    a concept applicable only to material processes, but applicable neither to
                    actions nor to existence; and if he thinks his concepts through, he will have
                    to think materialistically. That he does not do this is only the outcome of
                    that inconsistency which is so often the result of a thinking not carried
                    through..... it is often not noticed that no other ideas are available than
                    those which can be applied only to something material. This veils present day
                    materialism, whereas in the second half of the nineteenth century it was
                    plain for all to see. And present day veiled materialism is no less
                    intolerant of a view that grasps the world spiritually than was the
                    openly-admitted materialism of the last century.">>>

                    .... is that anyone who thinks we're forced to be as our bodies make us be is
                    thinking materialistically. Why? Because the Spirit is the sphere of thinking
                    and acting out of that is doing free deeds--- and all such anti-freedom
                    thought patterns do not recognize the spiritual.

                    Starman
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